Realising that it cannot keep solely depending on Arvind Kejriwal after a gruelling Lok Sabha poll, the fledgling AAP has begun preparing its new rank of leadership.
Party sources have told IANS that the exhausting general elections proved very crucial for the party in forming a crucible for the emergence of a new band of leaders who can take it forward on the basis of its ideals, philosophies and principles. "We have shortlisted some 100 to 150 committed workers across the country who played a major role during the general elections. They will be properly groomed," a senior AAP leader told IANS on the condition of anonymity.
"The AAP will go for a makeover. Irrespective of election results we will expand our base though we already have made our presence felt nationally," the leader said. After its stunning debut in the Delhi assembly elections, the rookie party plunged into national politics, fielding 400 candidates for the 543-member house. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) bagged 28 seats in a 70-member house in Delhi and formed the government with the outside support of the Congress which won eight seats.
"You might see new faces in the party leadership after May 16," another party source told IANS, not wishing to be named as he was not authorised to speak to the media. "Arvind cannot mobilise people all the time. We have to have more leaders in the party," the party leader said.
The party is also planning a national convention where AAP's post-poll strategy will be discussed. Besides, an increase in members of AAP's national executive is also in store.
"The party will obviously decide its future strategy after the elections. More members will be included in the national executive," AAP member Atishi Marlena told IANS. Asked if the party's Political Affairs Committee (PAC) will be expanded too, Marlena said: "Let's see."
The nine-member PAC is the highest decision- making body of the AAP and consists of Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan, Manish Sisodia, Sanjay Singh and others. It is learnt that the party will also induct new faces as its spokespersons.
A source close to Kejriwal said that the new leaders might be given responsibility in three poll-bound states of Haryana, Maharashtra and Delhi. Asked who would be AAP's chief ministerial candidate in Delhi if Kejriwal wins against BJP's Narendra Modi in Varanasi, party leader Manish Sisodia said: "It's too early to say."
Interestingly, AAP convener Kejriwal had told IANS that the country will witness elections in a year and a half as the BJP will not get more than 160 seats. "We are more or less convinced that we will contest general elections in a year and a half from now," a close aide of Kejriwal said, adding that for this it is important to select a second line of leaders.